Warangal: Telangana Government Chief Whip Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar will distribute 10,000 cloth bags to devotees heading for the Medaram Jatara to promote eco-friendly ways of celebrating the festival.

The biennial Sammakka–Saralamma Jatara held at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal of Mulugu district sees more than one crore devotees thronging the tribal shrine. With such huge footfall, the forest around the temple suffers damage, particularly due to plastic waste.

This time, the state has called for a plastic-free Medaram Jatara, which will be held from February 5 to 8. Advocating the call, Vinay Bhaskar has taken it upon himself to encourage devotees not to carry any plastic material to the site. People from far and near turn up to take the blessings of tribal deities Sammakka and Saralamma.

“We will distribute the bags to devotees free of cost at the pickup points of buses bound to Medaram from February 1 to February 5. NGOs also must take up the initiative to spread awareness among the people to not carry plastic material to Medaram. Nature has a special place in our festivals. That is why we worship trees, animals and birds. The Medaram Jatara is celebrated in a forest. We must strive towards not disturbing the forest or the biodiversity,” he said.

The chief whip also criticised the Centre for not giving the Medaram Jatara a national festival status. He complained, “The Telangana government is doing everything to ensure the Jatara is conducted successfully every time. But the central government is not showing any concern at all towards Asia’s biggest tribal festival. Even after repeated appeals, the central government is remaining silent over the issue.”

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